Rep. Donna Shalala slammed President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday for reopening too soon.
"The lack of leadership in the White House and in our governor's office, they simply have not hit this with a hammer, which is what we needed to do, and starve the virus," Shalala (D-Fla.) said on ABC’s “This Week.” "They opened too soon. And they misunderstand what you need to do — or they understand it and they're not willing to do it."
Approximately 65,000 new coronavirus cases were reported nationally Saturday.
Shalala, who served as secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, said the virus is hurting low-income minorities in her district who were called back to work and often live in small, multigenerational homes.
She said the "simplest thing" DeSantis could do is impose a statewide mask requirement and praised South Florida mayors for implementing such rules. But she said: “That's just a small piece, because this disease doesn't know what county or what city it's in.“
"The real thing we need to do is we need to close down again," Shalala said in her interview. "I said four months ago, if we don't do this right, we're going to have to close down again. That's our worst nightmare. And we're going to have to do that in Florida."
Additionally, she said her district's economy won't be able to fully recover until the virus is over. With over 330,000 cases in the state and more than 40 hospitals with no available ICU beds, Shalala said hospitals are full and lack appropriate testing capability.
"I'm terrified for the first time in my career, because there's a lack of leadership and we simply have not gotten our arms around this," she said. "And talking about opening schools is ridiculous when you have community spread the way we do here."
Shalala called for support from the Senate and Trump of the pending Heroes bill, saying the bill will make major investments in health care, education, and state and local government.